While I was out running recently I saw a flock of Canadian geese heading for northern Michigan (an early March mistake).
The geese got me thinking about flocking theory (something I learned years ago while at Fort Irwin in the Mojave Desert --- a fun story for another day).
I was at Fort Irwin with a BYU professor (whose name I no longer remember) focused on the idea of self-organizing units in nature, like birds and bees. Her goal was to determine if self-organizing principles that occur in nature could be applied to human organizations (must have gotten a grant).
In any case, her work did raise a good question for any business leader --- is my team flocking?
To answer this question we must first ask how birds flock and why birds flock.
How Do Birds Flock?
- They all fly in the same direction.
- They all fly at the same speed.
- They stay close together.
Why Do Birds Flock?
- Flying in great numbers improves their chance of survival against predators.
- Flying close together allows them to fly further since they use less energy.
Three Questions For Your Team
- Is your team flying in the same direction (business strategy)?
- Are they all flying at the same speed (date driven execution plan)?
- Do they stay close together (communication)?
The honest answer for most organizations is no … which means the honest answer for your competitors is probably also no. At best, the answer is yes but it could be better.
As business people, we spend every waking hour trying to figure out how to get an advantage over our competition. Most of us could and should start by getting our team to stop competing against itself and start focusing on the real competition.
Chances are each of us could be the first company in our industry to get our entire team on the same page (flocking). We already know how powerful that would be – so just do it! (oops was that line already taken?).
I share small business tips and lessons that I've learned from 40 years of business experience in both starting and running companies.
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